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03-11-2009, 11:05 AM   #1
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EV compensation in M mode? (K20D)

I have for a long time shot mostly in M (or in TAv) so I haven't in the past made much use of the +/- exposure-value compensation button. Recently I started experimenting with the K20D's excellent hypermanual (P) mode, which means I've started using the +/- button. Which is no doubt why, quite by accident, I discovered something that surprises me: The +/- button works in M mode, too. At least it does on my K20D. It does NOT work on my K10D - that is, if the K10D is in M mode, pushing the +/- button doesn't do anything at all. But on the K20D, pushing +/- causes the light meter display to disappear from the LED and causes the EV display to appear instead.

Is this right? Is the K20D supposed to work like this or is mine weird (or broken)? And if this IS a feature of the K20D, what is the point of EV compensation in M mode?

Will

03-11-2009, 11:09 AM   #2
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i am not aware of whether this feature is on the K10D or not, but i will confirm that it is a feature on the K20D


as to the "why", lets say you have a lens on that never talks right with the camera, you use step-down metering but the image is always under or over exposed, you would drive yourself mad having to flip the dial every time you would step-down to meter.

this way if you know that the lens needs half a stop more light more than what the camera thinks, you now have the option to leave that in there.
03-11-2009, 11:23 AM   #3
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Gooshin, Thanks for the quick reply.

I can confirm that this doesn't work on the K10D (at least it doesn't work on MY K10D). I guess it's a new feature on the K20D - one of the new features I still haven't noticed after a year of use! I'm glad for the confirmation that this is a feature and not evidence that my camera is broken. :-)

I had already guessed that, if it was a valid new feature, the reason for it must be what you said, but I wanted to hear it from you. Well, what I guessed was that you might use it if you were using filters on the camera (which I don't do any more personally). I guess it's useful, although I would be afraid that I'd change the EV in M mode and forget that I'd done so and then start worrying that my meter had broken.

Sometimes I think I have way too many options!

Thanks,

Will



QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
i am not aware of whether this feature is on the K10D or not, but i will confirm that it is a feature on the K20D


as to the "why", lets say you have a lens on that never talks right with the camera, you use step-down metering but the image is always under or over exposed, you would drive yourself mad having to flip the dial every time you would step-down to meter.

this way if you know that the lens needs half a stop more light more than what the camera thinks, you now have the option to leave that in there.
03-11-2009, 11:56 AM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
Gooshin: as to the "why", lets say you have a lens on that never talks right with the camera, you use step-down metering but the image is always under or over exposed, you would drive yourself mad having to flip the dial every time you would step-down to meter.

this way if you know that the lens needs half a stop more light more than what the camera thinks, you now have the option to leave that in there.
Yes, precisely! Pentax enabled the EV compensation in M mode as a means to address the metering issues with older lenses. This is what I have read. This is a move in the right direction.

03-11-2009, 12:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
Yes, precisely! Pentax enabled the EV compensation in M mode as a means to address the metering issues with older lenses. This is what I have read. This is a move in the right direction.
Doesn't the K20D have the ability to store info about the properties of specific lenses, specifically relating to back and front focus issues? I've never done it and now I can't find where you'd do it, but I think I'm not making that up. And if I'm remembering right, would it not make more sense to store the EV value for a lens with the other info you store about the lens?

Will
03-11-2009, 12:20 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Doesn't the K20D have the ability to store info about the properties of specific lenses, specifically relating to back and front focus issues? I've never done it and now I can't find where you'd do it, but I think I'm not making that up. And if I'm remembering right, would it not make more sense to store the EV value for a lens with the other info you store about the lens?

Will
I would hypothesize that this applies mainly to lenses that lack any sort of electrical contacts.


as using stop down metering with a lens capable of auto-metering is in my opinion rather redundant

and if you are working with a light meter than thats a whole different issue altogether.

and AFAIK the camera doesnt store compensation values for specific lenses, although i guess that would be kind of cool.

having said that, i dont particulary trust the metering system in digital pentax's (both my K100D and K20D) and usualy need to fire off 2-3 test shots before i get the histogram where i want it.


intrestingly enough the multi-segment metering on my MZ-S is superb, i think out of the 180 pictures i shot through while in cuba only 4 or so were over exposed, and not a single one was under exposed.

maybe thats just the film doing its thing
03-11-2009, 12:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
I would hypothesize that this applies mainly to lenses that lack any sort of electrical contacts.
You mean that the ability to adjust the EV in M mode would be useful with older fully-mechanical (not electronic) lenses? Yes, I see that makes sense.


QuoteQuote:
as using stop down metering with a lens capable of auto-metering is in my opinion rather redundant
Which is precisely why I asked my question in the first place.


QuoteQuote:
phaving said that, i dont particulary trust the metering system in digital pentax's (both my K100D and K20D) and usualy need to fire off 2-3 test shots before i get the histogram where i want it.
Yes, I find the meter a little unpredictable myself. In my case it seems that the camera has a tendency to underexpose, so I tend to push it to the right a bit.

As I said, I have for a long time shot mainly in M mode. Once I start shooting at an event like a wedding, I tend to get busy thinking about framing and taking shots and I tend to forget about the metering. And occasionally that means that I get a bad exposure because I failed to notice that the light had changed significantly. That's why I'm back again trying out hypermanual mode. I guess it's still possible to screw up the exposure there, too, but it seems a bit harder to do - and what I like about hypermanual is that I still feel like I'm (almost) completely in control. What I don't like about it is messing with the +/- button. For one thing, it's hard to do. Adjusting shutter speed or aperture using the e-dials is much easier. For another thing, EV compensation is too abstract for me. I like to know that the shutter was 1/100th sec @ f/2.8 or whatever. That's solid exposure info in my mind. On the other hand, 1/100th sec @ f/2.8 with +1.0 EV - well, I still have to think hard about what that means. I guess once you're used to it, it's okay. I'm still not used to it.

Anyway, thanks for the answers here.

Will
03-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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this is, apperantly, one of the reasons why "pro's" go to other system.

more accurate exposures and focus speeds, making such work as a wedding, easier.

i have not handled a high end Canon or Nikon, so i cant comment. But i know that things can get tedious with a K20D when lighting conditions change, even with all the automation.

03-11-2009, 12:44 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
Doesn't the K20D have the ability to store info about the properties of specific lenses, specifically relating to back and front focus issues? I've never done it and now I can't find where you'd do it, but I think I'm not making that up. And if I'm remembering right, would it not make more sense to store the EV value for a lens with the other info you store about the lens?

Will
Will:
Yes it would make sense to do it that way. But, as Gooshin says here: "I would hypothesize that this applies mainly to lenses that lack any sort of electrical contacts." In other words, EV enabled in M mode is best utilized for M & comparable lenses. These lenses are known for metering issues.

QuoteQuote:
Gooshin: having said that, i dont particulary trust the metering system in digital pentax's (both my K100D and K20D) and usualy need to fire off 2-3 test shots before i get the histogram where i want it
.

Yes, my experience with the metering system on Pentax DSLRs mirrors yours. It is only with careful use of Spot Metering that I am able to reduce, significantly, the number of test shots I must take with my K20.
03-11-2009, 12:47 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
Gooshin: this is, apperantly, one of the reasons why "pro's" go to other system.
Yes, not just pros, but regular people who do not have the finesse & patience to master the Pentax metering issues.
03-11-2009, 12:54 PM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
Gooshin this is, apperantly, one of the reasons why "pro's" go to other system.

more accurate exposures and focus speeds, making such work as a wedding, easier.

i have not handled a high end Canon or Nikon, so i cant comment. But i know that things can get tedious with a K20D when lighting conditions change, even with all the automation
.

Yes again, but to be fair to Pentax they have put together a system which is unrivaled in "backwards compatibility." I for one, never mind wrestling a bit with metering on an older lens because the benefits of being able to use such lenses more than out way the little extra effort needed to make them sing.

I think Pentax, once again, needs to be applauded for the degree of autonomy they provide to their users. This is, in a nutshell, what tipped the scales in Pentax' favor when I made my decision to hop on board.
03-11-2009, 12:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
this is, apperantly, one of the reasons why "pro's" go to other system.

more accurate exposures and focus speeds, making such work as a wedding, easier.

i have not handled a high end Canon or Nikon, so i cant comment. But i know that things can get tedious with a K20D when lighting conditions change, even with all the automation.

Hmmm. Faster focus speed, especially in low light, could be a reason to use something other than Pentax. But I'm sure that it's possible to mess up the exposure on a Canon or Nikon (any model) just about as easily as on a Pentax. Perhaps I distrust meters because I've never had the pleasure of using a really really good one, but I don't think that's it. If you put the camera into Manual mode on any camera, you're on your own. Put the camera into any sort of automatic exposure mode, point the camera at the subject and fail to realize that there's tremendous back lighting, and you can't blame the camera if all the faces are underexposed. I don't really know what face detection does. But I can't image that very many serious photographers are letting a face detection system determine their exposures.

Photographers need to know how to use their tools, and they need to know how to handle any quirks that their tools might have. I accept that.

So I'm not saying that I am unhappy with Pentax's exposure system. It's fine, in my view. I was commenting on the difference between what I'm used to - full manual mode - and the semi-automatic with manual override feature that Pentax calls hypermanual. I tried hypermanual last year a bit and gave up on it. I'm trying it again. One thing I do know: It really helps to get familiar with one approach to exposure and stick with it as much as possible. At crunch time I don't want to have to think hard to decide whether to adjust the EV or move the front e-dial. It's very likely right now that I'm simply dealing with the pain of changing old habits.
03-11-2009, 01:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
Yes again, but to be fair to Pentax they have put together a system which is unrivaled in "backwards compatibility." I for one, never mind wrestling a bit with metering on an older lens because the benefits of being able to use such lenses more than out way the little extra effort needed to make them sing.

I think Pentax, once again, needs to be applauded for the degree of autonomy they provide to their users. This is, in a nutshell, what tipped the scales in Pentax' favor when I made my decision to hop on board.
Well, what tipped the scales for me was the Pentax system's price advantage, that and the fact that the K100D (the first Pentax dslr I bought) had shake reduction built into the body. Every time I think about switching to Nikon or Canon (which is to say, about every three days or so) I remind myself that I'd have to pay for image stabilization lens by lens by lens.

Backwards compatibility means nothing to me because I have no legacy Pentax lenses. My last film SLR was a Nikon N65 that I still have and still use occasionally just for grins. I've tried a couple old Pentax lenses but found that I prefer the newer lenses made specifically for digital SLRs.

To be honest, the systems that really tempt the adventurous part of my brain are not Nikon and Canon but rather Sony and Olympus. But right now I can't see abandoning Pentax for Sony or Olympus.

Will
03-11-2009, 01:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
intrestingly enough the multi-segment metering on my MZ-S is superb, i think out of the 180 pictures i shot through while in cuba only 4 or so were over exposed, and not a single one was under exposed.

maybe thats just the film doing its thing
Partially - since highlights don't "clip" in the same way with film as with digital, there is less reason to worry about protecting them.

But I think you shouldn't discount the auto-exposure adjustments performed by many if not most film processing labs. That is, your film exposures may actually be more erratic than you realize. What you get back is often the equivalent of running the negatives through "auto exposure" controls in your favorite PP program.
03-11-2009, 01:27 PM   #15
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i scan my own film
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